this guy evidently hired to work for AD
Beat that dead horse beat it beat it beat that dead horse yeah
Gary Danielson keeps banging the anti-spread drum, although that may be because he's the only man in America you can call for a quote about how the spread is dumb. Some guy in West Virginia did—complete with Rodriguez slam, natch—and got a litany of quotes to the same effect.
I only bring it up because this seems like the exact worst argument you could ever make about anything:
Danielson said the spread's weakness was displayed late in the Illinois-Missouri season opener when Mizzou needed one more first down to seal the win, "and on third-and-3 they had nobody in the backfield to run the ball except (Heisman Trophy-candidate QB) Chase Daniel.
These are the ways in which this argument is the worst argument ever:
- This event never happened. The only Mizzou third and three in the fourth quarter came with just under 13 minutes left on the clock. (Daniel threw incomplete.)
- At no point was Illinois within a score of Missouri, so "sealing the win" isn't exactly of paramount importance.
- This game between two spread teams (with garbage defenses, sure) featured 94 points and over 1000 total yards.
Oh, wait, this might be worse:
"I don't mean we're going back to grind-it-out football. I think every team will have to have their four-receiver sets, but I think in the future coaches are going to realize they have to be able to hand the ball to the tailback, too."
West Virginia ran 76% of the time last year, Northwestern, etc etc etc.
A few days ago when I pointed out that nine of the top ten offenses in the country were "spread" offenses some commenters protested that any grouping of offenses that included Illinois and Texas Tech was too broad to be meaningful. I agree with that. HOWEVA, Danielson groups Missouri and West Virginia and Michigan all together; anything in a shotgun with more than two wide receivers is the "spread." This makes his argument the "spread" is on the way out obviously untrue.
If Danielson was specifically addressing the Rodriguez-WVU spread there might be a case to make, but he'd have to make it in a significantly less dumb fashion. A fashion like this:
When Rodriguez got to Tulane with Tommy Bowden they threw the ball all over the place, but (a) it was in Conference USA, (b) they were excellent at the 3-step passing game, but defenses are better at defending against those passes now than they were a decade ago, and (c) his downfield passing game left something to be desired. And in the years since, it's not that Rodriguez is at heart a running guy, it's just that was what worked and it masked some of the passing game deficiencies. When I study the route combinations, they do not appear to be designed conceptually, and instead are a kind of grab-bag of a few routes here or there. You don't see his schemes organized of horizontal, vertical, and triangle stretches.
That's Smart Football, and that's something to be legitimately concerned about. I'm not sure if we'll get a read on whether or not he's progressing in this area with these quarterbacks and this offensive line, but I plan on pinging Smart Football's proprietor Chris after the year to find out if he's detected any adaptations.
Removed PA WR Todd Thomas(Pitt), OH OL Marcus Hall(dropped us).
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. Another quiet week, but this week will be a big one. The MSU game has an impressive list of visitors set up from both the 2009 and 2010 classes; at least one 2010 commit is expected and there might be a second.
But on to this week's stuff:
McNeal is gone.
I mentioned that I was of the belief MN WR Bryce McNeal was not likely to return to the fold, and others are in agreement:
McNeal, from Minneapolis Breck, will visit Colorado, California, Minnesota and Florida, with the Gophers holding the home-state advantage. The success Tim Brewster is having in his second season in Minneapolis has impressed McNeal, and inside word is that it will be hard to pull him out of his home state now. Some think Michigan still has a chance to get him back, but sources close to the program feel McNeal is gone.
I should also mention that there have been articles about LA DT DeQuinta Jones and TX WR Dewayne Peace stating they were something other than totally solid. Wheeee! Might be a bumpy ride as we approach Signing Day with negative bler bler around the program at its all-time peak.
Here's Peace looking 14 and talking about visiting Kansas and Oklahoma and such:
So, yeah, his "commitment" is more like "Michigan a declared leader." Sounds like he's probably going to stick, though.
I'm not sure how much lowdown Jamie Newberg has on Michigan's QB situation, but this would be weird:
Is Michigan done at quarterback with this recruiting class? I don't think so, and I am hearing that the Wolverines have an excellent chance at landing Miramar (Fla.) High standout Eugene Smith. USF is heavily in the mix, and some say Florida State has a shot at him as well.
Smith's been quiet in his recruitment and plans to take a decision to or close to Signing Day, so we won't know about him for a while. Given the current situation at QB (and the possibility for a couple of these recruits to play elsewhere) I would welcome a third guy in the class, but I don't know if Beaver and Forcier would.
FWIW, Newberg also reiterates the conventional wisdom on Will Campbell: he should recommit to M.
The 2010 news remains relentlessly sunny, at least. Michigan has commitments from WRs Ricardo Miller and Jeremy Jackson already, and it sounds like they'll pick up a couple of guys to go against them in practice this weekend. One has already been discussed: Eagle Lake safety Marvin Robinson is widely expected to commit.
Here's Scout talent analyst Allen Trieu on Miller:
"Miller is kid who is shockingly put together for his age," Trieu stated. "He uses his strength to play a very physical game and blocks like a tight end. He also has good speed (4.5 in the 40) and has shown he can stretch the field. Certainly, when you talk about Florida juniors, Ricardo's name has to be mentioned right up there with the best of them."
And on Robinson:
"When I saw this kid at the Michigan summer camp two years back, I thought they had misclassified him as a sophomore-to-be," recalled Trieu. "He's built like an NFL player already, and the fact that he can cover ground well enough to play free safety is impressive. I cannot imagine there are many other kids out there with his size that can run, jump and catch the ball the way he does. It is easy to see why Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, USC and others have offered him this early. A kid that boasts those offers before the start of his junior season is definitely elite."
That's all old news, though. The new news is on another Floridian, one Lo Wood, a cornerback for Apopka (Jeremy Gallon's school) who is about as blunt as Robinson about his intentions:
“Michigan is my favorite and I sure hope they offer me. I just have always liked them. It’s big blue man and that great stadium. My teammate (Jeremy Gallon) is going there.”
He's expected to get that offer when he visits; he is one to watch for a commitment right then. Wood hovers around #10 in the extremely premature Florida state rankings for 2010 I've seen; this is another guy who will hover near top 100 lists when that time rolls around.
Here's Jim Stefani on Wood.
Moving in early.
Add FL S commit Mike Jones to the list of early enrollers:
“Oh yeah, my commitment is real strong. They have such a young team I feel I could come in and play because I have talent. And I’ll be enrolling early and be there for the spring.”
That brings the count to five; both quarterbacks and both Pahokee kids are scheduled to arrive in January.
Etc.: SC S Devontae Holloman has officially decommitted from Clemson and has M in a top four with three southern schools; SC DE Chris Bonds now looking like a longshot; a profile of NC OL Travis Bond.
The Po-lice? Dude, keep your hockey players away from the football team: several counties of the internet are murmuring about an incident in East Lansing that's something like a super-sized version of the Milano-Kampfer fight/suplexing. Supposedly there was a house party, a major brawl involving a couple dozen people, and police involvement. Since this is the internet, this could all be wrong—tomorrow a plesiosaur with a shotgun will figure in somehow—but there's been a lot of independent chatter on this. Something happened.
Will suspensions result? Was anyone more important than a tenth-string walkon involved? If Hoyer was forcibly benched would Michigan State fans even regard that as a loss? Stay tuned!
Let not the words you critique influence your argument. So last week I linked to a post from the summer which downplayed the possibility Michigan would reprise Notre Dame's hideous 2007 season, causing Rakes of Mallow to link to it and mock it:
I found it odd that no one in Wolverine Land could see what was coming this season. They witnessed what happened to Notre Dame all last season - a massive loss of personnel unable to be overcome by idiot fans screaming in the preseason "We'll still win nine games, we're [INSERT NAME OF SCHOOL HERE]!" - then looked that fate in the eye and made another asinine comment.
Of course, if Rakes had actually read the damn post:
So why won't this happen? First... it might. Michigan is unlikely to sink to the horrific depths Notre Dame did solely because of math -- hooray Gaussian distributions -- but failing to reach a bowl would be a real blow to the internet argument capabilities of Michigan fans. And that's totally within the realm of possibility.
A season like Tressel's initial foray at Ohio State -- a bleh 7-5 that would have been 6-6 without John Navarre's exceptional generosity -- is well within the realm of possibility. And by that I mean "is the most likely outcome."
So, yeah, Rakes has gone back to a post he would never have seen again if I hadn't brought up that I was wrong and then vastly exaggerated the degree of confidence I had in the season—and this was before I had any idea that Nick Sheridan would play extensively. Low, man.
Meanwhile, those levelheaded ND fans are saying Michigan "might have to fire Rodriguez this year."
I have been talking about myself. A Flint Journal writer with one o' them MLive blogs asked me a few questions, and I answered them.
Buckle buckle. The Daily Reports (via the LA Times) that Mitera's injury is the big one:
The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Mitera suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Friday's first-period collision.
Mitera and his family still haven't made a decision about surgery. Wait. What?
“We really haven’t come to a decision yet,” Ken said. “It’s going to be another couple of weeks. We really want to look to the doctors’ advice and see what they feel is in Mark’s best interest in the long term.”
Can you play on a torn ACL? Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon moved up to an 0.5 Norris when he played (and ran for a 50-yard touchdown) on a torn ACL last year against Arizona, but the lingering memory of Dixon from that game is his knee buckling hideously at some random point—no one touched him—and Dixon's dad helping his crying son to the locker room.
So… yeah. Torn ACLs seem like a bad idea. Maybe it's different in hockey, but probably not. I'm guessing he goes with the surgery and is done as Wolverine. Sad face.
At least he can't whiff a block. Carson Butler is now a defensive end:
Earlier in the week, tight end Carson Butler , who has moved down the depth chart and is behind Kevin Koger and Mike Massey , asked to move to defensive end. …
"He ain't playing tight end, because Kevin Koger is the starter at tight end, and Mike Massey is the backup," Rodriguez said.
…"and we've got like ten other guys, too, thanks Lloyd."
2007 – I Guess Something Happened Or Something
Part one; part two in a day or two.
THE SETUP: Unranked Michigan is 1-2 after the Horror and all that. Penn State is 3-0 but has played FIU, Buffalo, and that year's Notre Dame squad. Chad Henne, however, isn't around.
WHAT WENT DOWN: Very little. Michigan ground Mike Hart into the line almost 40 times and protected Mallett at all costs; Anthony Morelli did his Anthony Morelli thing, fumbling and missing a wide open slant for a touchdown and generally flailing as much or more than the Snap Fumbler.
IN THE AFTERMATH, PENN STATE FANS WHINE ABOUT: Joe Paterno.
2006 – Pit Bull
THE SETUP: Undefeated and #4 Michigan rolls into Penn State (unranked and 4-2) with a dominant defense. Penn State has Anthony Morelli.
WHAT WENT DOWN: The aforementioned Anthony Morelli:
Michigan, minus Mario Manningham, struggled to move the ball consistently but completely throttled the Penn State offense until a late screen cut the lead to 17-10. By that point, however, both Morelli and then-backup Darryl Clark were on the sidelines asking for pudding, leaving that Italian near-walkon who has been Penn State's third string quarterback since 1965 to the job. Four straight incompletions later, it was game over.
IN THE AFTERMATH, PENN STATE FANS WHINE ABOUT: The fact that Alan Branch wasn't tried and executed for his perfectly legal hit on Morelli.
2005 – Joe Paterno's Two Seconds
THE SETUP: Michigan kind of sucks, ya, entering the Penn State game 3-3 and facing off against an undefeated PSU team that would end up winning the league and beating a meh Florida State team in the Orange Bowl.
WHAT WENT DOWN: After a brutally boring first half sees four field goal attempts, one of which is successful, Michigan takes a 3-0 lead to the locker room. Michigan punches in their opening drive of the third quarter, at which point all hell breaks loose: Penn State rolls up ten straight points with both of Michigan's starting safeties watching. On the ensuing Michigan drive, Chad Henne scrambles out of the pocket and is stripped by Allen Zemitas, who returns the fumble for a touchdown. Penn State gets a two point conversion after botching the PAT snap, and if "momentum" was a real thing instead of housewife-pleasing blather Michigan is D-E-D dead.
It is not. Instead, Mario Manningham runs around Justin King like so…
…which ties the game when coupled with a two-point conversion. Michigan then boots a go-ahead field goal, and we get a Herrmann special as Michael Robinson & company roll downfield, punching in a touchdown with under a minute left.
Then they kicked to Steve Breaston.
Right. Your bad. Then this happened set this up:
Woo! The New Math!
(Full Wolverine Historian highlights.)
IN THE AFTERMATH, PENN STATE FANS WHINE ABOUT: On Michigan's last drive, they call timeout. The clock continues to run after said timeout. Carr points this out, and the referees put two seconds back on the clock. Since Mario Manningham's winning touchdown came with one second left on the clock, OMG Michigan stole it. No matter that:
- It was the right call, and
- Joe Paterno had done the exact same thing and gotten the exact same two seconds back on Penn State's final drive.
2003 & 2004 – You Lucky Bastards
Michigan misses the two worst Penn State teams since Joe Paterno took over.
2002 – Overtime
THE SETUP: #10 Michigan, in the weird Perry-Askew year, met #17 Penn State.
WHAT WENT DOWN: A close game throughout with Michigan usually trailing by a touchdown. A short fade to Braylon Edwards puts Michigan up 14-13; Penn State responds. John Navarre carves Penn State up on a 64-yard touchdown drive, finally finding Edwards crossing in the back of the endzone after an excruciating five seconds in the pocket. Tied at 21, the game goes to overtime. Michigan holds Penn State inside the five, then punches it in for the win in the first overtime game at Michigan Stadium.
IN THE AFTERMATH, PENN STATE FANS WHINE ABOUT: Hey, we've got a real live whine of recent vintage on this one:
Tony Johnson's feet were in bounds. Both of them. We should have had an easy field goal to win the game. But it was stolen from us and we lost in overtime.
This was a long pass on Penn State's final drive that would have put Penn State in makeable field goal range. That whine ignores the obvious incompletion the refs screwed up to even give them that opportunity:
10/18/2008 – Michigan 17, Penn State 46 – 2-5, 1-2 Big Ten
The reader may have noted a certain fevered quality to Friday's posting, and for good reason: I was sort of fevered. Bestruck by a head cold that wanted to kill my brain, I was in something of a fever dream until Zoltan punted it away with about two minutes left in the first half and Andre Criswell decided that it would be a good idea to pop Derrick Williams.
From there, reality reasserted itself with a thud.
This is not a "well coached team," I guess. It's hard to pick through all the detritus associated with that term—usually it means "loses too much for the accuser's taste"—and pick out a real definition, but suffice it to say well coached teams can return kickoffs past the twenty and don't pick up stupid personal fouls on downed punts. They don't they lead the country in fumbles. By a lot of metrics this not only a talent-deficient team but a discipline-deficient team as well.
And, okay, if you are concerned about that I get it. I think the longer view suggests Rodriguez can assemble a successful football team that does indeed seem "well coached," and by "suggests" I mean "makes it obvious".
There's not a whole lot more to say about unsurprising 30-point losses. We're going to see what the future holds one way or the other. I advocate patience, etc., you know the drill.
- No offense to a fine young man, but NICK SHERIDAN=DEATH. The decision to start him over Threet, or play him ever while Threet is physically capable of throwing the ball, will go down as the most inexplicable one of the Rodriguez era.
- Both of Threet's elbows are torn up? WTF? This is like a single player version of the broken thumb plague of 2005.
- Obviously Brandon Minor was the major buzz coming out of the game, as he ran with power two Sam McGuffie's couldn't muster. And he didn't fumble the ball. The fumbling and the offensive line and the Notre Dame game and Minor's run of just-nagging-enough injuries makes McGuffie's insertion understandable; I think he lost his job, though.
- When Threet was on the field he was impressive, and you could see that QB off-tackle/sweep thing was something they'd worked on significantly in practice but couldn't use the week before because Threet was busted up.
- In the first half when Minor was gashing them up the middle I thought to myself "we need to have something that plays off this or they're going to adapt and shut it down"; this happened. I think the difference in future years will be the ability to go to something else when (or, preferably, just before) the opposing defense catches on to the stuff you're running. You can see there's a certain monotony in the offense.
- Commenter ShockFX is going to find his annoyance at the "Minor should play more" threads be replaced by an an entirely different one genre: "why didn't Minor play more?" Projected rage level: steady.
|WHAT||Michigan @ #3 Penn State|
|WHERE||Beaver Stadium, State College PA|
|WHEN||4:30 EST, October 18th, 2008|
|THE LINE||Penn State by 23.5.*|
|UGH.||You said it.|
|TELEVISION||Nationwide on ESPN|
What do you do with a line that's 23.5? If Michigan was favored by 23.5 I'd half ass a preview. I think I'm going to do that when they're un-favored by 23.5, too. There's just not that much to say: in every facet of the game save punting (ZOLTAN WOO!) Penn State has vastly outperformed Michigan. You don't get spreads this high by accident.
Also, I am getting rocked by a cold and mostly want to lie around and snuffle. So this will be shorter than usual. (Update: but still 1100 words.)
Run Offense vs. PSU
It's hard to take Penn State's stats seriously when their out of conference schedule has Coastal Carolina, Temple, and Syracuse on it, but against teams with pulse-like objects:
Penn State's run defense has taken shotgun blasts in the form of departure, injury, and idiocy and keeps on trucking, as much of a zombie beast as the head coach.
As a spread team with no real quarterback threat and a questionable offensive line, Michigan most closely resembles—dammit—Purdue on this list. Penn State fans seem to be concerned about a couple of their linebackers in the wake of the Sean Lee injury, and if Michigan can catch someone slanting the wrong way or just frickin' block the DTs, there could be room to operate. I kind of doubt it, though, and expect more of the same.
Key Matchup: Sam McGuffie's intestines versus rupturing.
Pass Offense vs. PSU
Toledo faced off against Michigan with the nation's #109 pass efficiency defense and Michigan shredded them for 120 yards on 27 attempts, one touchdown, and three interceptions.
There's nothing to discuss if Threet isn't healthy. This is a disaster zone.
Even if he is, Threet's shining moment in the rain against Notre Dame has been followed by considerable ugliness. He is currently 95th in passer efficiency.
Penn State, meanwhile:
Uuuuuuuuugly. For opponents. Which is us in this case. 2-6 INT ratio, one team even in a marginally crappy YPA range, many, many incompletion. Penn State is also 17th in sacks allowed. In a word: likely DEATH.
THIS MATCHUP=TONY FRANKLIN.
Key Matchup: Threet versus elbow bruises and so forth and so on.
Run Defense vs. PSU
This is the one area in which Michigan is respectable… outside of net punting, of course. (WOO! ZOLTAN.) They currently sit 21st nationally, but in the most relevant matchup to date things went only okay:
That average isn't great but it's not an oblieration, either. Penn State, however, is back to the ways of Robinson, smoking opponents:
Oregon State was still wobbly early in the year and Illinois has been vulnerable on the ground against teams not named Michigan, so maybe there's some hope in the Wisconsin numbers? Eh… possibly. I expect the defensive tackles to get considerably more action than they did against Toledo, but they're all spread and HD and stuff and can attack outside—attack the linebackers—and we all know how that goes.
The verdict: a mix of stuffs up the middle with linebacker errors and Royster beating iffy tackles and one enormous bust and it looks like the Purdue game minus ten or twenty yards.
Key Matchup: Michigan defenders tackling the slippery Royster.
Pass Defense vs. PSU
Hey, so this blog can't be blamed for giving Darryl Clark a rating of '1' when these facts prevailed:
- Clark was under the tutelage of Jay Paterno.
- He sat behind Anthony Morelli for three years.
So it was a shock when he came out and started housing fools, then continued housing fools, and has pretty much got a Habitat for Ohio State Fans set up by this point. Then Joe Paterno said the reason they hadn't pulled Morelli last year was because JoePa hadn't wanted to give the media the satisfaction of being right about how crappy he was.
Ohhhh. Oh, JoePa is crazy. Okay. Still, fact A is in effect, which makes it freakin amazing that Clark is currently #15 in passer efficiency. In eight years as Penn State's QB coach JayPa has never had an above-average passer.
Now he does, and how. Meanwhile, Michigan's safeties are wearing shirts that say "I'm with touchdown-catching wide receiver". And Penn State has one of those ground games that can suck up safeties like whoah. Expect at least a few guys running open deep and 1-2 touchdown bombs; inbetween Michigan's attempts to contain Clark will stunt the pass rush and Penn State's fleet of little bastard WRs will turn little hitch routes into first downs as Michigan's linebackers whiff the tackles.
Key Matchup: Oh, hell, Brandon Graham getting to the quarterback, I guess.
We're down to #2 in net punting.
Key Matchup: Meh.
- Worry is the domain of the raw; worry is to be soothed.
- What's the worst that can happen?
- When they come for you, they will not know your name.
Cackle with knowing glee if...
- Joy is only a mask of fear.
- Loathe it, fight it, remain even.
- Interstellar darkness is vast beyond the capabilities of your imagination and cares nothing about your plight.
Fear/Paranoia Level: 0 out of 10. (Fear is the mindkiller. Fear nothing anymore; in your despair you find the freedom only the forsaken can experience.).
Desperate need to win level: 0 out of 10. (Needs lash the soul to the rack of imperfection. You need nothing. You experience all things, and all things experience you.)
Loss will cause me to... accept the nature of things; this wildebeest awaits only the chew.
Win will cause me to... laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.
The strictures and conventions of sportswriting compel me to predict:
No… no, not really.
Finally, opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
- the universe is going to die someday.
- it expands, taking everything away from everything else.
- one day an atom will repulse another atom, and that will be it, the Last Interaction.
- will the final score tomorrow matter then?
- penn state fans think so.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O4||1||10||Ace||Base 4-3||Pass||Waggle flat||Harrison||Inc|
|First of many, many rollouts on the day, with the TE on the backside getting an initial block on Jamison, then releasing. The QB overthrows it; if caught Harrison(+1) was likely to tackle for a minimal gain. (Cover +1.)|
|Trent is bailing out at the snap and has no chance to defend this simple slant. Pretty weak sauce when we're talking about a Toledo WR on his own four. Shafer, what's up, man? (Cover -1)|
|O15||1||10||Shotgun trips||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble Screen||Trent||Inc|
|Overthrown and incomplete; hard to tell if this was going to be successful or not. Close either way.|
|O15||2||10||Ace empty||Base 4-3||Run||Jet sweep||Ezeh||4|
|Never seen a team do this before, but Toledo will go to this formation throughout the game: an empty set with two tight ends and the QB under center. On this play they bring in the slot receiver and hand it off. No OL release downfield, but the TE gets out and clocks Mouton(-0.5); Ezeh(+1) gets out to meet the ballcarrier at the LOS but (-0.5) makes a pretty lame tackle, allowing the back to squirt for a few more.|
|O19||3||6||Shotgun 2TE||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||Zone read dive||Van Bergen||8|
|Van Bergen ends up 8 yards downfield on this one but no minus because he gets triple teamed to start this, as Michigan has just three DL to the seven guys on Toledo's line. One of the three peels off to club Mouton(-0.5), who gets knocked back and allows the back outside of him; Van Bergen is still being doubled and driven back, the RB just follows that for the first. Actually, Van Bergen does get a -1. I lied.|
|O27||1||10||Ace twins||Base 4-3||Pass||Slant||Trent||Inc|
|Thrown well behind an open receiver. (Cover -1) Again they're so soft on the corners here.|
|O27||2||10||Ace 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Waggle circle||Stewart||6|
|Van Bergen(-0.5) sucked upfield on the playfake, giving the QB some time; Stewart(-0.5) drawn out of position by the play action, opening this up. Ball is caught about two yards downfield and turned up for a few more.|
|O33||3||4||Shotgun empty||Base 4-3||Pass||Flat||--||7|
|Michigan in an obvious zone with Thompson lined up over a slot receiver; Toledo runs a route designed to make the outside guy attempt to cover two guys at the same time with the slot guy releasing into the flat as the outside guy runs a deeper slant. Trent picks the deeper guy; Toledo hits the short guy. (Cover -1). This can't be man given Thompson's actions.|
|O40||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Base 4-3||Pass||Jailbreak screen||Cissoko||2|
|Cissoko(+1) slashes up past blockers and slows the receiver long enough for a peeling Johnson(+0.5) to tackle from behind. (Cover +1)|
|O42||2||8||Ace trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Rollout – out||Harrison||7|
|More rollout action; no one anywhere near the QB (pressure -1) and the zone combo route on the outside gets the receiver wide open as Trent is driven off deep and Harrison(-1) fails to read the QB's eyes (cover -1). Throw is poor, taking the WR off his feet and leading to a third and short.|
|O49||3||1||Ace||Base 4-3||Pass||PA Post||Cissoko||Inc|
|Going for it all on third and short and they get the reaction from the defense they want with Stewart(-1) getting sucked up and leaving a pressing Cissoko one-on-one with his much larger guy. Cissoko(+1) is in excellent position and nearly intercepts; a better thrown ball and he might have been in trouble.|
|Toledo, faking a punt, snaps it to the upback. The upback can't handle it; the ball bounces around and is eventually recovered by M.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-0, 9 min 1st Q. Is this a good drive for the D? IMO: no. They gave up 45 yards and only the excellent, Zoltan-provided starting field position saved them a field goal attempt; many of the negative plays on this drive were Toledo shooting themselves in the foot.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O13||1||10||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Out||Ezeh||5|
|Pretty well covered by Ezeh(+0.5); immediate tackle made. All this stuff is three-step drops, BTW, no time for anyone to get to the QB.|
|O18||2||5||Ace stack||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||Dive||Ezeh||2|
|Stack == 4 WR, two on each side lined up basically over each other. On this play they're running it up the gut; the center stumbles as he passes Martin off to a defender, allowing Ezeh(+0.5) into the hole without a blocker. On the cutback Van Bergen and Martin are there.|
|O20||3||3||Shotgun 2TE empty||Base 4-3||Pass||Comeback||Trent||Inc|
|Toledo motions a third wide receiver to the bottom of the screen; Cissoko comes over: man coverage. They roll the pocket to the receivers; Ezeh(+0.5) reads it, heads outside, and cuts off the run option, forcing a somewhat early throw. A WR has broken slightly open in front of Trent; the ball is low and away; he can't dig it out.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 2 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O32||1||10||Ace twins||Base 4-3||Pass||Waggle flat||Harrison||1|
|Thompson(+0.5) is blitzing from the backside and takes his thrust right to the QB, forcing a quick dumpoff; Harrison(+0.5) comes up to make a tackle immediately (cover +1, pressure +1)|
|O33||2||9||Ace trips||Base 4-3||Pass||Rollout – hitch||Trent||14 (Pen-15)|
|Another rollout; no pressure this time (pressure -1) and the QB finds a guy open 14 yards downfield (cover -1) in front of Trent. Toledo is called for an illegal chop block. I think this is on Mouton(-1) for not getting any depth on a zone drop.|
|O18||2||24||Shotgun 2TE empty||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Throwaway||--||Inc|
|Three man rush against seven blockers, so everyone rushing is doubled and there's a guy left over. Unsurprisingly, no pressure, but no one's open downfield (cover +1) and the QB rolls out, throwing one in the turf.|
|O18||3||24||Ace trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||Draw||--||11|
|A give up and punt. I guess a couple guys get out of position but they're rushing the passer on third and forever, so that's what they should be doing. Harrison(-0.5) let the guy outside of him, tacking a few yards onto the punt.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-7, 14 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O22||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read dive||Mouton||-3|
|Mouton(+2) times a blitz beautifully, shoots into the backfield, and tackles for loss.|
|O19||2||13||Shotgun 2TE empty||Base 4-3||Pass||Out||Trent||10|
|Again attacking the zone in the place they know Trent can't cover two guys, hitting the TE underneath as he tracks the deep man. Trent comes up to hit the guy after seven yards, misses the tackle(-0.5), and cedes four more. (Cover -1)|
|O29||3||3||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Rollout – hitch||--||12|
|No pressure(-1) on the rollout once again; the QB finds a guy who sat down in the zone past the sticks (cover -1).|
|O41||1||10||Shotgun empty||Base 4-3||Pass||Fly||Cissoko||Inc|
|Cissoko(+1) running this guy's route for him. He breaks the play up. (Cover +1) No pressure(-1) from a four-man rush.|
|O41||2||10||Shotgun trips||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble Screen||Stewart||15|
|Mouton sent on a blitz, running himself out of the play; Stewart(-1) gets cut to the ground, opening up vast plains of space for Moore to lope into. Trent(-0.5) also cut heavily.|
|M44||1||10||Ace trips||Base 4-3||Pass||Rollout – hitch||--||15|
|Exact same play they just converted a third down on. Michigan has had no answer for this all year. (Cover -2)|
|M29||1||10||Ace||Base 4-3||Penalty||False Start||--||-5|
|M34||1||15||Shotgun empty||Base 4-3||Pass||Throwback screen||Dutch||14 + 10 (pen)|
|Yikes: Doug Dutch in the game; he reads this excellently but whiffs the tackle(-1), opening up a ton of room after the catch. After the player gets banged OOB Michigan picks up a late hit from Brown... terrible call.|
|M10||1||G||Ace||Base 4-3||Pass||Waggle flat||Trent||3|
|Slightly different this time as they run the TE downfield and have Moore shoot across the formation and into the flat. Quick pressure(+1) from an unblocked Thompson forces the dumpoff; Trent has tracked Moore in man coverage and shoves him OOB after a small gain. (Cover +1)|
|M7||2||G||Ace||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||PA throwback screen||Williams||4|
|Set up well and could be a touchdown; Williams(+0.5) slips past a blocker and hits the receiver; Stewart(+0.5) cleans up.|
|M3||3||G||Shotgun empty||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Fade||Trent||Inc|
|This thing is winged well out of the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG(20), 10-7, 5 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O40||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Base 4-3||Pass||Waggle circle||Mouton||10|
|Mouton(-1) sucked up by the play action, opening the slot receiver up for an easy pitch and catch. (Cover –1)|
|50||1||10||Ace stack||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||Dive||Ezeh||8|
|A cutback forced by Stevie Brown blitzing from the corner; Ezeh(-1) should meet this in the hole for no gain, as it's coming towards him and he is unblocked. He fails to read it fast enough and misses a diving tackle attempt.|
|Martin(+1) fights through a double team to harrass the ball carrier; Thompson(+1) beats the TE's block and thumps the RB backwards as he nears the LOS.|
|M42||3||2||Ace trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Flat||--||Inc|
|Wide open for the first down (cover -1); the QB misses his receiver.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-7, 2 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||Ace empty||Base 4-3||Run||Jet sweep||Taylor||-3|
|Taylor(+2) reads the motion and the jet sweep upcoming, slanting hard to the right. This supposed to be a scoop block where the RG helps seal him, but he's slanted hard enough that when the RG releases to block a linebacker the RB gets a faceful of Taylor.|
|O17||2||13||Ace twins||Base 4-3||Pass||Slant||Cissoko||Inc|
|Cissoko(+0.5) in pretty good coverage and might have a play on the ball if this wasn't well behind the receiver. (Cover +1)|
|O17||3||13||Shotgun 2TE empty||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Post||Mouton||23|
|Three man rush against seven blockers again but despite having eight zone defenders there's no one in a robber sitting at the sticks. WTF. (Cover -2) Looks like Mouton(-2) got a horrible drop.|
|A small crease between the doubled DTs; Ezeh does an okay job fighting off a block and tackling in the small space provided. Pretty much eh all around.|
|O44||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Hitch||Ezeh||12|
|No pressure(-1) from a three-man rush, and the QB comes down to a second read for a short gain... except Ezeh(-1) and Mouton(-1) both overrun the route and he's off into the safeties. (Cover -1)|
|M44||1||10||Shotgun 2TE empty||Base 4-3||Pass||Sack||Thompson||0|
|A four man rush this time against seven blockers. Coverage(+1) is good and second effort from the DL forces a rollout from the QB; Thompson(+0.5) comes up to contain and eventually sack for a slight loss.|
|M44||2||10||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Middle screen||Mouton||5|
|Middle screen catches Michigan in an outside blitz; both Mouton and Ezeh dropped, though, and Mouton(+1) shot up, got clipped, and in the process tripped up the receiver a little bit; Ezeh(+0.5) hits him soon after and the cavalry arrives forthwith.|
|M39||3||5||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Hitch||Ezeh||9|
|On Ezeh, I guess. We're still in this damn zone and not covering Moore in it. Whee. (Cover -1)|
|M30||1||10||Ace trips||Base 4-3||Pass||Throwback screen||Lynch||Inc|
|Thompson has been lifted for walk-on Kevin Lynch. Injury? Displeasure? Who knows. On this play Lynch(+0.5) blitzes upfield quickly on this rollout that morphs into a throwback screen, forcing a throw off the QB's back foot and an incompletion. (Pressure +1)|
|Cissoko(-0.5) late on this one, tackling as the ball arrives. Soft, soft, soft coverage. Soft. The coverage is soft. (Cover -1)|
|M24||3||4||Ace empty||Base 4-3||Pass||Rollout – hitch||Trent||8|
|Hey, guess what? We still can't cover this play they've run a half-dozen times. (Cover -1)|
|M16||1||10||Shotgun trips||Base 4-3||Pass||Fly||Trent||Inc|
|A bubble screen fake is supposed to draw Trent(+1) up but does not. The QB decides to chuck it anyway; Trent breaks it up (cover +1)|
|M16||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Flare||Harrison||4|
|That zone beater route they've thrown a few times before. This one is little late or outside or both, so the receiver has no opportunity to take it upfield and just runs OOB. (Cover -1)|
|M12||3||6||Ace trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Rollout – throwaway||--||Inc|
|Finally, finally, they cover this play. (Cover +1.) The QB tosses it away as he reaches the sidelines.|
|Drive Notes: FG(29), 10-10, 9 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|Taylor(+1) bashes his man backwards, causing the running back to trip over him and fall to the ground as he nears the LOS.|
|O5||2||9||Ace stack||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||Inside zone||Ezeh||11|
|Williams is blitzing to the backside of the play, leaving only five guys to attempt to defend this play. Ezeh(-1) overruns it, giving an OL an angle to block him and there's no one left until the secondary.|
|O16||1||10||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||WR screen||Stewart||5|
|Not a bubble as the receiver takes a jab step and then comes back upfield, but pretty close. Harrison(+1) shoots upfield when he sees his man back out, leaving Stewart(-1) unblocked with an opportunity to tackle for loss; he misses the tackle, turning a negative into five yards.|
|O21||2||5||Ace||Base 4-3||Pass||Waggle flat||Harrison||0|
|Mouton(+0.5) containing well, forcing the throw; Harrison(+1) right there on the catch to tackle. (Cover +1)|
|O21||3||5||Shotgun 2TE empty||Base 4-3||Pass||Slant||Ezeh||31|
|Wheeeee zone coverage wheeeee. Ezeh(-1) and Thompson(-1) split and there's no one within a yard of Moore as he catches this slant. I know he's only got like sixty catches at this point. Anyway: tons of YAC. (Cover -2)|
|M48||1||10||Ace stack||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||Dive||Martin||4|
|Martin(-1) blown back by a double team; the center is late peeling and Ezeh(+0.5) manages to fight to the hole and force the RB back into Martin, where tackling happens in a mess of bodies.|
|M44||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Hitch(?)||--||Inc|
|This is an ugly throw that could be a hitch or a fly; neither is accurate.|
|Also overthrown to the point the WR can't make the catch. Cissoko would have had a tough time doing anything about it if it was accurate; his man is like a half-foot taller than him.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-10, 1 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M40||1||10||Shotgun 2TE empty||Base 4-3||Pass||Jailbreak screen||Trent||1|
|Trent(+1) gets a good jump on this, arriving as the ball does. He can't tackle; he does slow Moore long enough for Ezeh to clean up. (Cover +1)|
|M39||2||9||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Hitch||Harrison||9|
|Actually appears to be man on this play; Harrison(-1) is playing way off his man, allows the completion, and tackles by the shoes. (Cover -1)|
|M30||1||10||Ace stack||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||Dive||Van Bergen||3|
|Van Bergen(+0.5) gets some good push, making the crease here small – Michigan's been operating with smaller splits in the 3-3-5 on this drive; Ezeh(+0.5) fills the hole and creates a wad of players.|
|M27||2||7||Ace trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Rollout – hitch||Brown||4|
|Harrison blitzing from the corner this time, getting up on the QB and forcing an early throw (pressure +1). Said throw is a little high and towards the sideline, but Moore is open again and makes the catch for a small gain.|
|M23||3||3||Shotgun 2TE empty||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Sack||Williams||-8|
|Williams(+1) gets a free run from the blindside and sacks. (Pressure +2.)|
|Drive Notes: FG(48), 10-13, 11 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O8||1||10||Ace empty||Base 4-3||Pass||Waggle flat||Trent||4|
|Again a guy in the QBs face, forcing the quick throw; no one close enough to do anything about it. Trent does tackle. (Pressure +1)|
|O12||2||6||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Bubble Screen||Brown||5|
|Decently well defended by Brown, as he avoids a blocker and tackles once he regains his balance.|
|O17||3||1||Shotgun 2TE||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||Zone read dive||--||8|
|At this point I actually scream about the three-man line on third and one. Completely baffling. Your DTs are your two best players, so you take them out on third and one in favor of a three-man line we've seen get shredded time and again on the ground? Unbelievable. The frontside is pretty well jammed up but since there's only one defensive tackle there's plenty of room once the RB cuts behind the center. This is on Shafer.|
|O25||1||10||Shotgun trips||Base 4-3||Pass||Hitch||Ezeh||5|
|Three man rush, plenty of time (presure -1), and a checkdown to an open receiver.|
|O30||2||5||Shotgun 2TE empty||Base 4-3||Pass||Flare||Brown||Inc|
|Just chucked over the receiver's head. Brown(+0.5) looked like he was going to snuff this out for like two yards anyway. (Cover +1)|
|O30||3||5||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Penalty||False Start||--||-5|
|O25||3||10||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Jailbreak screen||--||Inc|
|Very, very fortunate that this is chucked knee-high and thus dropped because they had caught Michigan in a blitz and unless Cissoko made a miraculous shoestring tackle this guy had the first down easy. (Cover -1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-13, 7 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O27||1||10||Ace stack||Base 4-3||Run||Dive||Taylor||8|
|Taylor(-1) and Johnson(-1) creased in the center by single blocks; Ezeh(-1) blown up by the center.|
|O35||2||2||Ace stack||Base 4-3||Run||Dive||Mouton||25|
|Where the hell are the safeties on this? Seriously. It's second and one with three minutes left, you need the safeties in something other than a two-deep shell. Anyway, the DTs close off the hole up the middle on this one (+0.5 each); forcing the RB to pause in the backfield; Mouton(-2) attacks inside, opening up a bounce-out for a ton of yards.|
|M40||1||10||Ace stack||Base 4-3||Run||Dive||Taylor||4|
|Taylor(-1) takes steps outside, sealing himself, basically, and the interior line is free to get out and club the linebackers.|
|M36||2||6||Ace stack||Base 4-3||Run||Dive||Taylor||0|
|This time Taylor(+1) slants into the hole taking two defenders with him and forcing a cutback into the unblocked Van Bergen.|
|M36||3||6||Ace 4-wide||Base 4-3||Pass||Waggle circle||Trent||4|
|Again a guy in his face immediately forcing the dumpoff; this time Trent(-0.5) is there immediately; he misses a tackle, as does Thompson(-1). (Thompson's is more egregious because Trent had already slowed the guy up. Ezeh cleans up after three yards. The announcers actually think punting from the 33 is a better idea than going for it on fourth and three to end the game. Lulz.|
|M32||4||2||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Rollout – out||Mouton||-1|
|Oh, my god. These announcers are retarded. The color guy does not get it. Mouton(+1) blows through a tight end on a blitz designed to contain this rollout, then bangs into the RB, forcing the QB to throw. He chucks one that the receiver digs out for a gain of... -1. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 10-13, 1 min 4th Q. EOG.|
So that was frustrating.
Yes. Check those drive starts: 4, 4, 8, 13, 20, 22. Michigan had Toledo backed into a corner time and again and let them out every time. They only gave up six points, sure, but Zoltan had a lot to do with it and Toledo being bad had a lot to do with it. This Opelt kid had a lot of inaccurate balls.
Meanwhile, they picked up around 330 yards, which is their average for the year. That would be okay, I guess, if their schedule didn't read Arizona, EMU, FIU, Fresno State, and Ball State. Do you want Michigan's defense to be on par with the hypothetical average of those teams?
|Jamison||-||-||0||Wow. I don't think a DL has ever played the whole game and come up with nothing positive or negative.|
|Taylor||4.5||2||2.5||He and Johnson lifted lots for Martin and his three man line.|
|TOTAL||7||5.5||1.5||Probably and all-time low for the unit, as Toledo took them out of their game entirely.|
|Thompson||2||2||0||Eh. Didn't see that much time as Michigan was in a nickel much of the day.|
|Mouton||4.5||8||-3.5||Got some big minuses for holes in the zone he did not drop into properly.|
|Cissoko||3.5||0.5||3||A pretty good debut.|
|TOTAL||11.5||8||3.5||Hold on just a second, though.|
|"Pressure"||8||6||2||A lot of the "pressure" was on boots and rollouts and stuff and didn't result in big crushing sacks or anything.|
|"Coverage"||13||22||-9||Aaaand that was what everyone was annoyed about.|
You can see Toledo's game plan in the numbers: completely eliminate the defensive line by throwing a vast array of little dinky crap and mixing in the occasional deeper throw with at least seven blockers in the backfield, two of which are TEs. DEs got doubled on every passing play that was longer than a three-step drop.
This should have been a tremendous advantage for the defense, but Michigan couldn't cover the million short routes Toledo threw. I don't think this is particularly surprising, since most of the time there were two cornerbacks in the game and Michigan was committed to zone coverage by personnel and alignment. The reads for Opelt were super easy.
And what about that three-man line?
We saw it last year, when Northwestern's slow-ass backup tailback gashed us time and again in that formation and we're seeing in this year: when Michigan brings in a three man line it's extraordinarily vulnerable to the run.
Let's leave aside an 11-yard draw on third and 24 (against the 3-3-5) and the one sack Michigan picked up for eight yards. Your rushing breakdown for the day:
- VS 3-3-5: 8 rushes for 44 yards, 5.5 YPC.
- VS Standard Front: 12 rushes for 23 yards, 1.9 YPC.
Michigan can't hold up against the run against a poor MAC team in this alignment, and it's pretty obvious why: you're lifting Terrance Taylor and Will Johnson, seniors and the best position group on your offense, for a safety and a freshman who, while promising, remains a freshman. You are then backing him up with Michigan's pretty crappy linebacking corps.
So I would like to know this: WTF is Michigan doing with a three man line on the field on a critical third and one late? And why are they using it at all on things that aren't obvious passing downs?
You seem cranky.
I am cranky. Many of the things that happened in this game were disheartening not only for the rest of the season but for the future. See: three man line, inability to contain that stupid rollout teams have been throwing against us all year. I am in no way ready to render a verdict on Scott Shafer or even give him the internet equivalent of the evil eye, but I have to admit my opinion of the hire is slipping.
Now, it could be that he's been saddled with a defense that sucks butt outside of the defensive line, and once teams scheme to take away that defensive line there's not much he can do other than swear profusely. And, right: six points. But the only time the defense has seemed as dominant as we had vaguely hoped for was when Bret Bielema was busy throwing the Wisconsin game with his caveman ways. Against offenses birthed after the Paleolithic, it's been rough.
Uh… it was really hard to find 1) notable events and 2) things that qualify as highlights, so it's pretty fuzzy. Cissoko maybe?
Similarly, it's hard to pick out anyone who performed particularly poorly. Drip, drip, drip.
What does it mean for Penn State?
I don't think we're going to get a stirring performance out of these guys.
Do you think it was more than just slightly coincidental amidst last Saturday's misery that the marching band chose to do an emo halftime show?
That's only the tip of the iceberg, man: during the Wisconsin game they did a Ferris Bueller parody where the drum major was absent, then showed up at the last second. Just like the team!
Rodriguez has been dealt an impossible hand by a combination of (a) circumstances (untimely graduations and transfers) and (b) transitions (the personnel we had is ill-suited to the offense he wants to run). He is doing the best he can, and we have been competitive in every game we played this year, except for the ones where we took howitzers and pointed them in the general direction of our own nutsack.
My bigger concern is not Rodriguez and it isn't how we are doing this year. My bigger concern is the high level of risk associated with the spread offense. It absolutely cannot come as a surprise that Threet was injured -- he has been getting hit hard on a regular basis. This is what happens when the quarterback is an important yard gaining aspect of one's offense. I am concerned that in the bright future, we are going to have a really good team well-suited to running the spread -- and our entire season will hang on whether the quarterback can avoid injury. And when he won't, we'll spend lots of times saying "If only [fill in name] hadn't gotten injured in the fourth [fifth, seventh, first] game, we could have been really awesome!"
You think back to Oregon with Dennis Dixon. They were unstoppable. Then Dixon got hurt and they were nothing. It is just such a "everything must go right" type of offense. That's my big concern.
Anyway, just wanted to sound off about the spread in a different way. Not so much a "where the fuck are we?" kind of way, because as you ably pointed out, that's not very useful. More in a "does it make sense to go in this direction when we are the type of program who can recruit hosses and play a sweet pro style offense."
This is often cited as a reason to be leery of the spread: Pat White, Drew Stanton, Dennis Dixon, and many other spread quarterbacks have been blown to smithereens and taken their teams' chances with them. While dropback passers get hurt, too, it's reasonable to suggest that Pat White (197 carries, including sacks, in 2007) is more likely to get hurt than your average Michigan quarterback (57 combined carries in 2007).
I think the dropback guys aren't quite as well off as that disparity suggests, though. Quarterbacks don't have to register a carry to get hit, especially when they're dropping back to pass behind an iffy offensive line. I think it's safe to assume that Michigan quarterbacks got hit as they threw the ball far more often than White did—for one thing, White only threw a quarter of the time. This narrows the gap somewhat. Also, when you're running with the ball you are usually conscious of the people trying to tackle you and rarely take a big hit; quarterbacks getting attacked from the blindside or standing in and throwing often take wicked shots. So it's not a slam dunk the spread guys are at more risk. I think they are, but if it's 10% or 20% you're probably better off with the spread.
To find out we'd have to go to the numbers, classifying quarterbacks as spread or pocket passers and surveying the recent history of college football to determine how much time the spread guys missed versus the pocket guys. Without anything resembling an injury database you're reduced to inferring which guys got benched (good or bad, you can rest a guy at halftime of the 'Cuse game and that looks like he's injured) or had disciplinary issues versus which got knocked the F out. That's a ton of noise when you're looking for an effect that's pretty noisy itself; I don't think any sort of study is feasible.
So then you're measuring whatever bonus effectiveness you get from running your quarterback—and the evidence suggests this is substantial—against the murky increased chance of injury to you quarterback.
All I can tell you on this is: I don't know. This is a tootsie-roll-pop-level mystery, and will probably always be so.
I have a rhetorical question for you. Is it just me or does McGuffie run straight up? I know the kid has talent but I will guarantee if he leads with his pads more he'll stop going down on first contact. This is a pet peeve of mine similar to your coping issues with clock management. I don't think anyone can use the argument he's to small right now to run thru defenders. Mike Hart wasn't always big and Jacquizz Rodgers seems pretty successful. At this point I'm hoping it's something Jackson is working with McGuffie on this since I believe it will expedite his success as one of the great Michigan running backs. Go Blue!
Yeah, McGuffie's major flaw to date has been a near-total inability to make yards once a guy has him wrapped up. He's the exact opposite of Mike Hart. I'm not sure if he's ever going to get better at it, either. He's a slasher, which fits very poorly with our current inability to block defensive linemen consistently, and is probably 20-30 pounds lighter than Hart. I think it's something we're going to have to live with.